When times feel dark and chaotic, I turn to The World We Have, A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology by Thich Nhat Hanh for guidance.
You don’t have to be a Buddhist to follow the 5 Mindfulness Trainings Hanh shares in this guide. They provide a non-sectarian global ethic, not associated with a particular religion, race, or ideology, relevant to everyone.
The bells of mindfulness are sounding. All over the Earth, we are experiencing floods, droughts, and massive wildfires. Sea ice is melting in the Arctic and hurricanes and heat waves are killing thousands. The forests are fast disappearing, the deserts are growing, species are becoming extinct every day, and yet we continue to consume, ignoring the ringing bells.
All of us know that our beautiful green planet is in danger. Our way of walking on the Earth has a great influence on animals and plants. Yet we act as if our daily lives have nothing to do with the condition of the world. We are like sleepwalkers, not knowing what we are doing or where we are heading. Whether we can wake up or not depends on whether we can walk mindfully on our Mother Earth. The future of all life, including our own, depends on our mindful steps. We have to hear the bells of mindfulness that are sounding all across our planet. We have to start learning how to live in a way that a future will be possible for our children and our grandchildren.
Hanh’s message feels more important than ever, especially given the new U. S. administration, which denies climate change as a hoax and is determined to dismantle environmental protections at lightening speed.